Birighitti excited for big occasion

Mark Birighitti says he is looking forward playing in a big game atmosphere in the A-League season opener on Friday night.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says he is looking forward playing in a big game atmosphere when the Jets take on Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League season opener at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.

Birighitti was serving a one-match suspension when the Jets defeated the Sky Blues 3-2 in front of more than 35,000 fans at Allianz Stadium in Round 2 last season.

The 22-year-old said he was eager to experience such an atmosphere from between the goal posts this time around.

“The pre-season has been going for five months now and the boys are just looking forward to getting out there on Friday night and getting off to a good start,” Birighitti said.

“It-s going to be a massive game. I was down there last year watching from the grandstand and to be a part of that day, to watch the boys play and the atmosphere with 35,000 people was fantastic.

“Hopefully the fans can turn up in numbers again and plenty of Jets supporters travel down to cheer the boys on as well.”

After conceding 45 goals during the 2012/13 campaign, Birighitti said a major focus of the Jets this pre-season had been tightening up their defence.

“One area of our game that we-ve been working really hard on is the back four,” Birighitti explained.

“Having Kew (Jaliens) there is going to be a massive boost for us, just with his experience and leading the younger boys like Connor (Chapman) and Taylor (Regan), it will definitely be beneficial for us.

“It-s been working well, we haven-t conceded many goals and as that-s one aspect of our game that we-ve been working on, trying not to concede as many silly goals.”

Birighitti said the Jets- defence will have their hands full managing Sydney FC-s former Italian international and World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero on Friday night.

“We know what qualities he has,” Birighitti said.

“He-s a class act and I-ll have to be on my toes to stop a few of his shots. It-s a discipline thing, we don-t want to give away stupid fouls in and around the box.

“We can-t afford to give him too much space because he-ll exploit that. We-ve got players who are good enough to do the job and I just can-t wait to get out there.”